FORT ERIE, ONTARIO CANADA (WIVB) – Travelers could see longer lines at border crossings now that the federal government is planning to no longer let New Yorkers enroll in Trusted Traveler Programs, like Nexus. However it’s not just New York residents who have concerns.
“I think it will deter people who want to travel across the border if they’re concerned about the amount of time it will take to get from one side of the river to the other,” said Town of Fort Erie Mayor Wayne Redekop.
After the Green Light Law passed, federal agencies say new yorkers can no longer travel through border crossings using the Trust Travel Program. According to Homeland Security, it’s a safety risk.
The Green Light Law went into effect in December and allows people who are in the country illegally to apply for a driver’s license. It also blocks U.S. Customs and Border Protection from obtaining the vehicle’s owners’ information.
“That it would come to this is unfortunate because as I said it really has a lot of unintended consequences,” Redekop said. “I believe and I’m hoping that the state of New York, Homeland Security, Customs and Border Protection and the U.S. federal government will find a way that they can accomplish their ends without having to prejudice so many people.”
Redekop said he believes this ban will not only add longer travel times at border crossings but will also negatively affect both US and Canada’s economy.
“Law abiding citizens who need to or want to cross the border and many of them do frequently or companies who are reliant on exporting or importing goods, they’re being threatened or prejudenced as a result of people who will never apply for this type of document because they’re not documented to begin with,” Redekop said.
Robin Bailey was traveling from Virginia and says she’s currently waiting for her own Nexus pass. She says she needs one for her job and without one, it would be inconvenient.
“A lot of us travel and it takes a lot of time and effort out of our commute a lot of people from New York travel for work a lot of us are coming from further out,” Bailey said. “I’m from Virginia so crossing the border having the nexus card certainly saves us time and a lot of effort.”
Currently around 800,000 New Yorkers participate in the Trusted Travelers Program.